The baseball season transitions to the regional tournament on Thursday.
Jackson (26-3) and Walsh Jesuit (25-3) will meet at 2 p.m. at Louisville in a Division I regional semifinal, and then Brunswick (17-12) will take on Mentor (17-5) at 5 p.m.
Walsh was the No. 1 seed in the Hudson district and knocked off No. 8 Stow 10-0, No. 5 Solon 2-1 and No. 2 Hudson 12-3.
“The thing that stood out to me was that we threw the ball extremely well and we played very, very good defense,” Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said.
The Warriors are led by Nathan Stahl, Nick Vaccaro, Yassir Kahook, Evan Swan, Stanley Kaczmar, Jake Armsey and Henry Kaczmar.
Stahl is 8-0 with a 0.31 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings, and is a .388 hitter with eight home runs, 42 RBI and 24 runs.
Armsey is hitting .507 with 42 runs and 29 RBI.
Jackson was the No. 1 seed in the North Canton district under coach Bill Gamble, and beat No. 9 Boardman 9-2, No. 4 Lake 4-0 and No. 3 Hoover 4-3.
Jackson senior Yianni Skeriotis is 10-0 this season with a 0.00 ERA in 52 innings, and Trent Jones is 6-0 with a 0.61 ERA. The Polar Bears offense features Trey Wright (.485, 37 runs) and Ben Hymes (.421, 34 RBI).
Brunswick was the No. 4 seed in the Barberton district, and topped No. 5 Hoban 9-3, No. 1 Wadsworth 3-2 and No. 6 Firestone 5-0.
The Blue Devils are led by Scott Rouse, Noah Herron, Kyle Goessler and Mike McFadden.
In Division II, Tallmadge (17-7) will take on Cleveland Benedictine (21-5) at 2 p.m. at Hudson.
Tallmadge entered the Louisville district as the No. 3 seed, and then beat No. 6 seed Northwest 10-4, No. 2 seed Louisville 2-0 and No. 1 seed Norton 3-0.
“Our four seniors — Sam Seeker, Rich Eyre, Todd Bangtson and Jake Reifsnyder — have stepped up and led, and the younger guys all did their job and contributed,” Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn said.
Tallmadge’s top two pitchers are Seeker (6-1, 1.56 ERA) and Bangtson (6-3, 2.29 ERA). Top hitters are Reifsnyder (.375, 16 runs); Eyre (.350, 23 runs, 17 RBI) and Luke Thomas (.346, 24 runs).
Firestone (22-9) finished its season as a Division I district runner-up for the first time since 1996.
Seniors Joe Durkee, Max Erisey, Connor O’Brien, Josh Alexander, Ian Hartman and Reid Schuchter led the No. 6 seed Falcons to wins over Wooster 3-2 and Medina 2-1, before losing to Brunswick in the Barberton district final.
Durkee went 8-1 with a 0.97 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. Erisey went 6-4 with a 3.47 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings, and also hit .419 with 12 extra base hits, 39 runs and 28 RBI.
The Falcons are set to return Jack Kirven, Stephen Johnston, Spencer Sacha, James Spengler, Shawn Gates and Aaron Lux.
Top-seeded Norton (20-2) defeated Coventry 5-1 and Marlington 4-2 before falling to Tallmadge in the Division II district final at Louisville.
Norton’s ace Luke Bosley went 13-0 the past two years. As a senior, he was 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 55 1/3 innings.
Clay Crawford went 3-1 as a senior with a 1.80 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.
Seniors Clayton Borrelli (.469, 17 RBI, 22 runs), Parker Hray (.465, 17 RBI, 21 runs) and Ben Aiken (.400, 15 extra base hits, 31 RBI and 19 runs) led Norton’s offense.
“This was a very special and unique group with 11 seniors,” Norton coach Rod Swartz said. “… Four of the kids were in a school play together — Andrew Kozak, Luke Bosley, Zane Brady and John Cline. They did a 'Rock of Ages' play and they were singing and performing in the middle of our 18-game win streak.”
The Panthers' other seniors are Zack Whitney, Jarred Pasterchek and CJ Griffin. Steven Cruz, Par Rockhold and Evan Cefalo are set to return.
Hudson (23-5) featured Matthew Aukerman (perfect game, 6-0, 0.00 ERA) this season along with Joseph Whitman (10 saves) and Nolan O’Connell (.421, 11 extra base hits).
The Explorers will graduate 15 seniors from the roster: Aukerman, O’Connell, Nick Bish, Jonathan Coates, Grant Gedeon, Blake Hartline, Bryce McClure, Ryan Mitcheltree, Matthew Morris, Zack Palmer, Ethan Samangy, Aiden Samuel, Jack Seiple, Parker Tallman and Marcel Ulrich.
Michael Beaven can be reached at email@example.com.